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BendGate: iPhone 6 Plus Owners Report Bending the Phone Simply by Pocketing it

fake-iphone-6-03Apple’s new 5.3″ i{hone 6 Plus may not be all that large compared to many Android smartphones but it looks like the phablet may have been too much of an engineering challenge for Apple.

There are several early user reports that the 5 day old smartphone both is and is not as sturdy as one would like. The owners report that iPhone 6 plus can be damaged by nothing more than sticking it in a pocket.

And not a back pocket; the reports claim that the phablet was in a front pocket when they were damaged. The good news is they didn’t break the screen; the bad news is they still managed to bend the rear shell:

As a dedicated snarkist, several comments went through my head when I first read this story, including references to limpness, performance issues, and sexual references. Alas, I deleted them all after snickering to myself.

I had trouble believing the reports. While I could see a phone getting broken in a pocket, I can’t picture how that bend occurred – not without the screen also being broken. But apparently it can happen, and this isn’t even the first Apple product to have this issue; it was also reported in the 5th-gen iPod Touch.

And to be fair to Apple, this issue is being reported by a handful of owners out of something like 10 million units sold. With only a handful of reported cases, BendGate is probably still a smaller issue than manufacturing defects, a problem shared by all gadgets.

But for those of us with a juvenile sense of humor, this is still funny.

Update: And it’s going to be a fairly common problem. One blogger posted a video showing that he could bend his phone using just his hands. It looks like the iPhone 6 Plus has a structural weakness around the volume buttons:

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The Commons September 23, 2014 um 2:02 pm

"I can’t picture how that bend occurred – not without the screen also being broken."

A thin (relative to length) piece of glass has a bit of flex to it. Not a whole lot, but then none of these pictures show any extreme bends either. Go up to the top of a skyscraper on a windy day and watch the windows closely. You’ll see them flex. It’s kind of unsettling, actually.

ucfgrad93 September 23, 2014 um 3:35 pm

The use of the term "gate" needs to stop, it is annoying as hell.

Feda September 23, 2014 um 4:09 pm

It’s a feature. It’s a flexible phone.

Bill Collins September 23, 2014 um 4:12 pm

Over the summer I saw a video of the durability of the sapphire glass used in the iPhone 6 and it does not surprise me that it would bend, but not break. The video showed the glass bending through 75 degrees and not breaking – tough stuff!


Nate Hoffelder September 23, 2014 um 4:13 pm

Yes, but I thought the underlying display wasn’t nearly as durable. That could break underneath the sapphire glass.

Nate Hoffelder September 23, 2014 um 5:09 pm

You’re right, the screen is durable. I just updated the post with a video which shows a thoroughly bent iPhone 6 Plus with an undamaged screen. Wow.

The Commons September 23, 2014 um 5:16 pm

The glass shown in the videos may have been sapphire glass, but the actual iPhones themselves do not use that.

M Singh September 24, 2014 um 2:33 pm

Iphone 6 doesn’t have sapphire glass

Robert September 23, 2014 um 4:13 pm

Perhaps Apple can slap a sticker on the box that says "Device not compatible with skinny jeans."

Smoley September 24, 2014 um 10:33 am

Apple has no hope for upgrades to the new devices then.

fone fan September 23, 2014 um 5:05 pm

Well very disappointing iPhone again from Apple, here are all the images of bent iPhone 6 Plus reported earlier

Shawn September 23, 2014 um 6:44 pm

Can you measure how much force you used to ben the phone? That would be more scientific.

puzzled September 24, 2014 um 6:39 am

Being an Apple, the force used would have to be specified in Newtons…

Nate Hoffelder September 24, 2014 um 7:08 am


Bill Collins September 23, 2014 um 6:55 pm

I find it hard to believe that the phone in the video did not end up with a broken glass with the bend it received. Is it glass or polycarbonate?


Bill Collins September 27, 2014 um 11:32 am

I looked on appleinsider and they report that it is Gorilla Glass. That explains it somewhat.

MarkC September 24, 2014 um 12:44 am

Personally, I think it’s inevitable that an aluminum shell will suffer structural weakness when it gets thin enough. Is the iPhone 6/6+ that thin? Dunno, but it sure seems possible.

Felipe Adan Lerma September 24, 2014 um 6:46 am

Well that put a crimp in my iPhone 6 infatuation. A sunny side to not being ready for a new phone yet 🙂

Apple Now Giving Tours of Torture Room Where They Didn't Catch the iPhone 6 Plus Bending Issue – The Digital Reader September 26, 2014 um 11:55 am

[…] broke earlier this week that the iPhone 6 Plus had a structural weakness around the volume buttons which increased the risk that the phablet would bend.  (I’m not […]

Diane Fields September 26, 2014 um 7:22 pm

If you dig deeper you will find that video is likely fake and thus far only 9 damaged phones by bending had been reported up through the early part of the week. Likely overblown story which isn’t unusual. It won’t keep me from buying a 6plus when my contract allows. I have one friend who just loves it, sold her Mini and uses the Air at home and the 6 plus for mobile.

Nate Hoffelder September 26, 2014 um 7:40 pm

This video shows someone else bending an iPhone 6 Plus just like the video embedded in my post:

They later try to bend the Galaxy Note 3, but it survived.

Timothy Wilhoit September 27, 2014 um 7:29 am

Mssr. "Tittywagon" made the claim that the video was faked because the time on the phone was later earlier in the video than during the actual. He explained that the beginning part of the video was overexposed and had to be re-shot. For good measure, he repeated the test and the results were the same.

I also have an issue with the Consumer Reports test that "PilotBob" posted on MobileRead. My knowledge of physics is horribly rusty (30+ years) but how much of the force that was being applied exact center of the phone (not the weak area) is being transferred to the weak spot where all the "pocket bends" are showing? It’s also very possible the bendy phones are from a bad batch. Time will tell.

Nate Hoffelder September 27, 2014 um 8:07 am

I saw those CR videos as well. Talk about missing the point; they didn’t test the weak spot!

And as for the very first video, I thought the time stamp could be explained simply by the video having been reshot because the guy flubbed a line or something like that. That didn’t make it any less true that he bent the phablet with his hands.

Timothy Wilhoit September 29, 2014 um 10:40 am

I think I might have figured out why the CR report was so wrong. In the test, force was applied at three points, both ends and the center. What forces are being applied to a phone in your pocket? I tried a device of similar length in a loose-fitting pocket and I sat down. I could TWO pressure points, the end at bottom of my pocket was pressing into my leg and the other end was pressing in the opposite direction, away from my leg. What do you have? Torque. It doesn’t take much pressure applied to one end of a 6.5 inch phone to equal a lot of force on the other end. Apparently, there’s another problem…the force on the top end is being applied disproportionately to the weaker side, causing the twisting. That would also explain why people with loose-fitting pants seem to be the ones with bent phones. Tight jeans keep the forces more evenly distributed and would likely bring the pivot point far enough down from the top of the phone to bring the pressure on the weak spot down to a negligible level. Does it sound plausible?

Timothy Wilhoit September 29, 2014 um 10:42 am

Correction, I could FEEL two pressure points. You need an edit button. 🙂

Nate Hoffelder September 29, 2014 um 10:57 am

I had one, but it slowed down the blog so it had to go.

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